The Awakening – Hear, Sense, and Feel (1972) [Black Jazz BJ9]

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The Awakening
Hear, Sense and Feel
1972 Black Jazz Records BJ9

1     Awakening – Prologue / Spring Thing     9:36
2     When Will It Ever End    7:16
3     Convulsions     6:37
4     Kera’s Dance     10:05
5    Jupiter     7:33
6     Brand New Feeling    5:50
7    Awakening – Epilogue     1:08

Bass – Reggie Willis
Drums – Arlington Davis, Jr.
Flugelhorn, Trumpet – Frank Gordon
Piano, Electric Piano – Ken Chaney
Tenor Saxophone, Flute – Ari Brown
Trombone – Steve Galloway
Electric bass on “Brand New Feeling” – Richard Evans

Produced by – Gene Russell
Recorded at Streeterville Studio, Chicago


A lovely, dare I say a gorgeous record from jazz ensemble The Awakening, all of whose members seemed to have connections of the AACM collective founded by Muhal Richard Abrams in Chicago.   While Frank Gordon and Ken Chaney were co-credited as bandleaders, the record has the kind of musical egalitarianism you might expect.  Recording for the short-lived Black Jazz label, they were only around for about four years and put out two excellent albums of mostly mellow, modal, moody jazz in the more soulful corner of the Afrocentric “spiritual” jazz idiom.  In spite of having a track titled “Convulsions”, everything on the record is melodic, with the occasional free riffing or over-blowing coasting on top of solid grooves.  The record opens up with a invocation-type poem that leads into “Spring Thing,” which eases us into the album.  If I have any criticism of the record it might be that, while this first track features obligatory solos from everyone as a way of introducing their voices, it somehow ends up not particularly representing the musical identity of the group.  But that is okay, because 1972 was a time when people seemed to have more time to sit and listen to music and didn’t have to be `hooked` in the first few minutes to stay interested. Patience, my friend.  “When Will It End” has a circular-time thing going apropos of the title, with the bass playing a five-note ascending riff that barely changes over the course of seven minutes.  Chaney switches to electric piano for this one with delicious results.  Speaking of piano, for whatever reason, random association or coincidence, the two compositions by (trumpeter) Frank Gordon remind me a lot of McCoy Tyner

With the exception of special guest Richard Evans, who plays the only electric bass on the record on the funky closer “Brand New Feeling,”  the two members with the broadest pedigree outside the AACM seem to be Steve Galloway and Ken Chaney.  Galloway played with Count Basie in addition to credits on the cult-classic “Funky Skull” album by Melvin Jackson and a respectable number of soul sessions (Jerry Butler, The Dells, The Staples), and Ken Chaney, who among his other accomplishments played on the massive hit “Soulful Strut” by Young-Holt Unlimited.

“Hear, Sense, and Feel” is an immediately accessible, uplifting jazz record.  Their next album, “Mirage,” was a bit funkier and a little bit more “out” as well.

A long time ago I promised to share a whole bunch of stuff from the Black Jazz discography.  Well as the saying goes, promises were meant to be broken.  Anyway this should help ease the pain until I dip back into their catalog again here.

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  1. Very cool – thanks!

  2. Merci, gratzie

  3. Thanks so much for the upgrade! Fantastic album 🙂

  4. I haven't heard or heard of The Awakening, but I will, which is why I love Flabbergasted Vibes.

    I have just moved from Diamantina back to Texas, and though I still check out the site, it's not the same as when I lived in the middle of all that sound, when I checked in with you every morning.

    I'm listening to Joyce's "Pássaro Urbano," a real jewel, and one I never would have heard without you. That goes for so many.

    You moved me, and in turn I'm trying to spread the sound.


  5. thank you very much for
    posting this ditty

  6. Thanks for turning me on to Black Jazz. I love the two Doug Carn albums I have — at least one of which you posted — and the Walter Bishop Jr. Keep the obscure gems coming!

  7. Excelente post de los ultimos meses, siempre bienvenida la Black Jazz
    Gracias Flabber

  8. What an excellent, obscure gem this is. I think you summed it up and covered all the relevant points in your writeup. These are first-rate jazz compositions played very well by a cohesive and talented group. Thank you turning me onto this Flabbergast!

  9. Detroit techno auteur Theo Parrish recently released a compilation (available on CD and vinyl) of his favourite Black Jazz tracks, which heavily feature selections from the Awakening. Pressed in Japan, beautiful music. Still available.

  10. Detroit techno auteur Theo Parrish recently released a compilation of his favourite Black Jazz tracks, which heavily features selections from The Awakening. It's still available on both CD and vinyl. Pressed in Japan, beautiful music. Don't sleep on it.

  11. Thank you very much for this The Awakening disc. Great Sound.
    Do you know Buddy Miles? A funk/soul drumer that played with Jimi Hendrix. His discography is brilliant, but it's very hard to find. Do you have any album of him to upload? Obrigado. Forte abraço.

  12. You are going to music heaven. Cheers from Spain.

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